Zaghari-Ratcliffe, British-Iranian fellow is leaving Iranian state media

British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe poses for a photo after her release from house arrest in Tehran, Iran, March 7, 2021. Zaghari family / WANA / Handout via REUTERS / File Photo

DUBAI, March 16 (Reuters) – British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anousha Ashouri, a dual national, left Iran on Wednesday, Iranian state media reported, ending years of detention, after the British government paid its $530 million debt to Tehran. .

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency said it had been handed over to a British team at Imam Khomeini International Airport. A source close to his family told Reuters that Ashouri had also left Iran.

There was no immediate confirmation on whether they would move directly to London.

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“Britain released $530 million … before the release,” Fars said.

Reuters was not able to independently confirm the Fars news agency report.

Earlier, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain was looking into ways to repay Iran’s historic debt related to the sale of battle tanks to Iran’s former ruler, the Shah.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested at Tehran airport in April 2016 and later convicted by an Iranian court of plotting to overthrow the clerical establishment.

Her family and the charity, which operates independently of Thomson Reuters and its news arm, Reuters, denied the accusation.

The Foreign Office, the foundation and Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard did not respond to a request for comment.

Al-Achouri was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 for spying for Israel’s Mossad and two years for “obtaining illegal funds,” according to the Iranian judiciary.

The release came after Tehran and London continued talks over a long-term debt of 400 million pounds ($520 million).

Iran’s clerical rulers say Britain owes money that the Shah of Iran paid up front for 1,750 tanks and other vehicles, almost none of which was delivered after the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed leader.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation said she traveled to Iran in her personal capacity and was not working in Iran. The Thomson Reuters Foundation is a charity independent of Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters News.

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(Parisa Hafezi reports). Written by Michael Georgi and Samia Nakhoul. Editing by John Boyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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